In 2015, the German label Tempus Fugit already released remastered versions of the first two Kaipa albums Kaipa (1975) and Inget Nytt Under Solen (1976) (see review). The last three albums, Solo (1978), Händer (1980) and Nattdjurstid (1982), that the band made during their first period are now also released by the same label in remastered versions. The last two even are now for the first time ever available on compact disc.
Kaipa's third album Solo was released in 1978 by Decca Records and featured Ingemar Bergman (drums, gong, vocals, laughing), Mats Lindberg (bass, Moog Taurus pedals, percussion), Hans Lundin (keyboards, vocals), Mats Löfgren (lead vocals, percussion) and Roine Stolt (acoustic and electric guitars, guitar synthesizer, percussion, vocals). In a way the band followed on this album the same musical path as on their two predecessors meaning making progressive rock music that was very much related to the music bands such as Genesis, Camel and Focus had made in the mid seventies. Only this time around the band seemed to perform as a well-oiled machine and therefore even came up with better compositions as you could hear on their earlier releases. So without a doubt I can say that the bands third album belongs to the bands best work released during their first period. Just listen to tracks such as Total Förvirring (Total Confusion) and Sist På Plan (Last Man Standing) and you can only agree with me. Most of all on those pieces of music we're shown that the two instrumentalists Lundin and Stolt belonged at the time to the best players in Europe on the keyboards and guitars only too bad that the vocals were done in the Swedish language and not in English. It certainly would have gained them more international success. Strangely enough no bonus tracks are featured on this reissue. But even without them this is a must have for fans of Genesis, Camel and Focus and also for those who like Transatlantic and The Flower Kings because this album featured one of their members as we all know.
Kaipa's fourth album Händer was released in 1980 by Polar Music (ABBA's record label) and featured Max Åhman (guitar), Ingemar Bergman (drums, backing vocals), Mats Lindberg (bass), Mats Löfgren (lead vocals) and Hans Lundin (keyboards, vocals). Those who looked carefully noticed that guitarist Roine Stolt was not mentioned anymore as he had left the band together with Mats Lindberg. Stolt was replaced by Ahman and Lindberg was replaced by Lindberg. Strangely enough, somebody with the same name had taken over the bass duties. The absence of Roine on guitar meant even more on this album that Lundin was in control. The bandleader, mainly due to the spirit of the times, decided not to use the Hammond organ during the recordings of this album at ABBA's own recording studio. All keyboard parts were completely performed on synthesizers as was common in the eighties. Because of this, the compositions sounded more polished and in a way over produced. Sure the guitar parts were still notable, but the overall sound was rather keyboard orientated. The progressive rock tunes were still available, as you can hear for example on the instrumental Regn (Rain), but a change of style was already notable. That the band worked at the time in the same Polar Music Recording Studios as Genesis might have been a coincidence but it certainly reflected on the album sound. Therefore I didn't find it strange that music wise Händer reminded me of Duke (1980) but also Abacab (1981) from Genesis came to mind. Also, this reissue doesn't have any bonus tracks to offer. But as with its reissued predecessor, this release is a rather enjoyable album even without any bonus features. Although the compositions are less enjoyable than those on Solo, this album is still recommended to progressive rock fans-most of all those who enjoy Duke and Abacab by Genesis.
Kaipa's fifth album Nattdjurstid was released in 1981 by Piglet Records and featured Max Åhman (electric guitar, chorus), Pelle Andersson (drums, chorus), Mats Lindberg (bass, chorus) and Hans Lundin (synthesizers, vocals). A different drummer in the line-up probably wasn't the reason the music on this release moved even more towards a real commercial sound. I guess Lundin felt even more that he had to go with the musical flow of the way the music heard on the radio was at the time. He must have felt that his band also should come up with poppy tunes. Featuring elements of synth-pop, disco, rock, funk, new wave and... progressive rock. No, not everything was based on popular music. Just listen to the track Identitetkris (Identity Crisis) and you know that still some progressive rock blood was running through Lundin's veins, only too bad you have to listen very carefully to trace any elements of the sound of the band from their first four releases. I guess Lundin didn't feel very comfortable with the music he had displayed on the band's final album before they disbanded because when in 2000 Hans Lundin and Roine Stolt decided to bring their forces together again and reform the band, only progressive rock and related styles were on the menu and not the style of music that could be heard on the bands only mistake in their entire career. Therefore, I am afraid I can't recommend it to the true lovers of progressive rock music. Only the true die hard Kaipa fans who collect everything from this band can't afford to miss this release or maybe only for the three bonus tracks which are featured as they are in the same style as the rest of the album.
Regarding the complete reissues of Kaipa's last three albums made during their first period I can only be positive. They all sound and look very good. The booklet with liner notes and old pictures certainly adds something extra to the new versions. With the final albums that Kaipa made during their first period now on CD, the CD collection of Kaipa's first chapter is now complete. Thanks for that Tempus Fugit!
Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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